Carlton Ward Jr@carltonward

@NatGeo Explorer | Focused on the Hidden Wild | #PathofthePanther | @SeaLegacy Collective | Founder @FL_WildCorridor #FloridaWild

pathofthepanther.org/

586 posts 125,830 followers 632 following

Carlton Ward Jr

Thank you to the Florida Panthers Foundation for unveiling a massive #PathofthePanther mural in their home arena last night to raise awareness for the endangered Florida panther as ambassador to save the Florida Wildlife Corridor and #KeepFLWild. Last night was Panther Conservation Night at the @thebbtcenter. The main photo in the mural is of a male panther from one of my camera traps at Babcock Ranch. The mural’s messaging focuses on the importance of for panther territory for conserving Florida’s nature and culture, from black bears to cowboys and the Everglades water we drink. The mural is 14 feet tall! I can’t wait to see it in person! Thank you @torilinder for representing our cause for the media and @bobbyneptune for capturing these photos! @flapanthers @fl_wildcorridor @insidenatgeo


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Carlton Ward Jr

Crazy clouds during the flight home from Washington, D.C. #shotoniphone


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Carlton Ward Jr

Please help my friend @FransLanting help rescue his friends in Iran. Please read and share his post below. I know from extensive experience with camera traps that they are useful for capturing photographs of wildlife at very close range but would be relatively useless for espionage or any other purpose. Photo by @FransLanting | The Asiatic cheetah is facing a death sentence. Fewer than 50 survive—and only in Iran. But some of the best people dedicated to saving these unique cats from extinction are now in jail for their work and may even face the death penalty. They’ve been accused of using camera traps for espionage. But camera traps are only good for one thing—to capture images of animals at close range just like you see here. This rare image of a cheetah in Iran was captured by one of my camera traps while on assignment for @NatGeo. I worked there with permission and support of Iran’s Department of Environment, and with several of the excellent Iranian scientists who have been arrested. They belong to the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, but they worked closely with the government, and yet they are now on trial—for charges that are politically motivated. This is horrible for the individuals involved, but it is also a tragedy for the animal which faces extinction. And that is a great loss for everyone in Iran because the Asiatic cheetah is a powerful symbol for Iran’s unique natural heritage.
If you care about cheetahs in Asia and the plight of the people whose mission is to protect them, please go to the link in my Instagram profile to read the story NatGeo just published and spread the word about it. You can also sign a petition to express your concern at Care2. Search for “conservationists face death penalty in Iran." @hassanrouhani @jzarif @hediyehtehrany @Reza_Kianian_Official @mitra.hajjar @raisi_org @FedericaMog @leonardodicaprio @hope4nature #ConservationIsNotaCrime #FreeIranianConservationists #anyhopefornature #hope4nature ⁩⁩#wildlife #conservation #cheetahs #bigcats اميد_براى_طبيعت#


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Carlton Ward Jr

Racing away from the sunset yesterday after servicing a camera trap on a Glades County cattle ranch. #PathofthePanther #FloridaWildlifeCorridor #KeepFLWild #ShotoniPhone


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Carlton Ward Jr

In honor of #WorldWildlifeDay here is a photo from one of my favorite wildlife experiences. I think the theme this year is underwater, so maybe the rest of this guy that’s not showing qualifies. Nevertheless, I was sitting low among the mangroves right at the edge of a coastal lagoon in Gabon’s Loango National Park. I’d followed hippo tracks across the beach from the Atlantic to this small brackish lagoon and had seen this big guy’s eyes pop up and submerge at the far side. My heart skipped a beat when he exploded through the surface right in front of me, mouth open wide in a territorial threat display. I backed away, but not before shooting a burst of slide film. I was especially drawn to this place in coastal Gabon. The west facing beaches and red mangrove trees reminded me of my home in Clearwater, FL — minus the condos and houses and add hippos and elephants. I did see this family of hippos enter the surf late one evening. I’ll share photo of that in a future post. Thanks to the @smithsonian for including me on this project. #Hippo #Gabon #Africa #wildlife @natgeoimagecollection


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Carlton Ward Jr

I just rediscovered the first photo from last dry season in the Fakahatchee Strand. An alligator crosses a downed tree on a seasonally dry trail amongst cypress knees. It has an amphiuma (a large snake like amphibian) in its mouth (pinch and zoom). I’m still hoping for a great panther photo from this site. Last year the trail was only dry for 3 months. Most of the year the scene looked like the second photo - full of water draining the adjacent cypress swamps and pine woods towards Everglades City and the Gulf of Mexico. I hoping for a few months of dry conditions this spring to have another chance at a panther here at one of my favorite camera sites! #pathofthepanther #gator #swamp #floridawild #keepflwild


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Carlton Ward Jr

Watch your back white egret, a great blue heron is gunning for you because it wants you out of its fishing hole. One of my favorite camera trap sites in the Fakahatchee Strand, where I am working to get photos and videos of bears and panthers crossing water, is also a favorite spot for wading birds. This can be frustrating because they trigger my cameras thousands of times and smoke the batteries, this time before a panther came. But the camera also documents some cool behavior in a very dynamic wetland. In this case, heron dominates egret. Now cue the panther please. #pathofthepanther #floridawild #floridawildlifecorridor #everglades #egret #heron #swamp #keepflwild @natgeoimagecollection


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Carlton Ward Jr

#NatGeo100Contest - I am thankful to be a contributor to @Natgeo which just hit 100 million followers! To share the love, they are having a photo contest through 10 AM EST today that will give you a chance to be featured on @NatGeo. To submit, simply post your most Nat Geo inspired photo on your feed using the hashtag #NatGeo100Contest. The top 10 photos will be posted on @natgeo and the winner gets a photo trip to Tanzania. See more details in my story. This photo is of sunset over the reef at Nusa Lembongan, Bali, where I spent a month in the summer of 2007. The man with his boat is harvesting seaweed in the shallows as a wave breaks on the reef beyond. #Bali @natgeoimagecollection


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Carlton Ward Jr

#NatGeo100Contest - I am thankful to be a contributor to @Natgeo which just hit 100 million followers! To share the love, they are having a photo contest for the next 24 hours only that will give you a chance to be featured on @NatGeo. To submit, simply post your most Nat Geo inspired photo on your feed using the hashtag #NatGeo100Contest. The top 10 photos will be posted on @natgeo and the winner gets a photo trip to Tanzania. This photo of a red shouldered hawk getting ready to eat a water snake on Buck Island Ranch in Florida was my most popular on the @NatGeo feed last year with nearly 1.5 million likes. If your photo gets selected to post perhaps it will get even more! Remember to tag #NatGeo100Contest in the next 24 hours.


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Carlton Ward Jr

When she’s not working cows with her family, attending college or competing in softball, Seminole Indian cowgirl @ahniejumper ropes and and barrel races in the Eastern Indian Rodeo Association. Her grace in the saddle and speed was impressive to see. After a photo shoot at the Palm Beach Zoo, I was able to catch this rodeo at the Brighton Reservation. Thankfully I still had a 400 2.8 on loan from @sonyalpha. I was able to shoot it with my #A9 handheld and freeze the action under dim fluorescent lights. Maybe a 300 would have been better for this distance, and I could have kept the horse’s nose in frame. But I loved the way the 400 isolated Ahnie from the busy background. I look forward to shooting more rodeo action in the coming months. Ahnie’s sister, two brothers, dad, uncles, aunts and cousins all compete in rodeos. The Seminole Tribe of Florida is one of the leading cattle producers in America and ranching helps keep families like the Jumpers connected to their heritage in the Everglades. #Seminole #LivingHeritage #FloridaWild


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Carlton Ward Jr

This week I had the privilege of photographing Sassy, an almost 4-year old Florida panther who lives at the Palm Beach Zoo. Her mother was killed by a car near Naples in 2014 and Sassy was the only of three kittens to survive. Biologists from @myfwc took her to @naples_zoo for immediate care in their animal hospital and she was later moved to the @palmbeachzoo for her permanent home where hundreds of thousands of visitors have a chance to see her each year. In addition to caring for injured and abandoned panthers, and giving homes to panthers that can’t be released to the wild, zoos serve an important role in educating the public about panthers and their conservation needs. Just a few minutes looking at this beautiful creature and anyone is going to fall in love. I’ve been chasing panthers in the wild with camera traps for 3 years and have seen two panthers in the wild with my own eyes. So I was mesmerized by the opportunity to observe Sassy in her large enclosure. Her grace, power and stealth was awe inspiring. At one point she jumped 10 feet down from a tree and landed on the ground right in front of me under full control without making a sound! Go see her yourself! Here a few photos from by visit with Sassy, all shot through the steel mesh of her habitat. Which is your favorite? Thanks @sonyalpha for loaning me a 400 2.8 lens that allowed me to produce wonderfully sharp photos with the foreground and background out of focus, and all handheld because the lens is so lightweight. Thanks to the @panthers_florida foundation, Fox Sports Miami and Zoo President Margo McKnight for working with me to share the #pathofthepanther story! #morethanamascot #PantherPortrait #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild


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Carlton Ward Jr

A heart shaped petal floats on the waters of the Fakahatchee Strand. I believe it’s from a pond apple flower. Maybe the petals are like a boats adapted to ride slow currents and sustain the forest by delivering seeds to pockets of swamp beyond the reach of the parent trees’ branches. Can any botanists or naturalists out there please confirm or correct this ID and caption? Update from @benjistudtphoto: “Nailed the petal ID! (Way cool photo, btw!) But on the seed theory...seeds develop later inside the fruit (which is pretty tasty if you like things that are tart). I believe the fruits do float...but are generally falling just before the wet season...so most are dispersed by all the hungry swamp critters!” Thank you! So much for my seed boat theory but tasty fruit dispersed my animals is super cool. #pondapple #love #swamp #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild


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